I travelled to New York the last Christmas and I enjoyed it as much as troubles me and my family had there. One of them was my sister's camera.  It lens got blocked; maybe because of the high changes of temperature (We live in Canary Islands, so we aren't used to control those things). The thing is that we couldn't take photos there with that camera. Now, I decided to take the piece that wasn't working (aperture) and sink it into resin, making a gift for my sister in order to remind her the good (and bad) times we had in New York.

This 'ible is an example of what can you do with transparent resin, so the following instructions can be taken for other ideas. The resin used is Transparent Polyester. I bought it on this store , very cheap by the way.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Safety First

Picture of Safety First

Resin can become an hazardous issue if you don't take the correspondent precautions. There are required some protections:
- Latex or nitrile gloves.
- A Mask for the fumes
- Acetone (is the best product for clean polyester resin).

Step 2: Tools and Materials

- Sandpaper:
  · Wet sandpaper 120
  · Wet sandpaper 360
  · Wet sandpaper 1000
- Sander (optional but recommended)
- A graduated cylinder (to measure the resin)
- syringe (to measure the catalyst)
- A stick
- Solder iron
- Hot melt glue gun
- Polish paste
- Cloth

- Polyester Transparent Resin
- A object to sink (in this case an lens aperture)
- A mold (I used a tetra brick pack, but I recommend crystal or plastic, you wont have to sand with them)
- 4 LED's
- Plug conector
- 12V transformer

Step 3: Dissasemble the lens and aperture

Picture of Dissasemble the lens and aperture
My first idea was to sink all the lens exploded, but I haven't so much resin.

Take apart the aperture and disassemble it as well.

Step 4: Make the mold

Picture of make the mold
My pattern was a 5x5 cm of base, even when the aperture has 3 cm of diameter. I did that so as to let a security space for any problem that can happen (at the end, I sanded the piece, letting it in 4x4.5 cm)

My mold was made on tetra brick, because I haven't anything better, but plastic and crystal containers are a better option. Silicone is the best option, but is a waste of money if you'll only use it one time.

I made two pieces. One for the base, which is illuminated by four LED's, and other for the aperture piece.

Step 5: Make the base light

Picture of Make the base light
Solder the four LED's in series to a 12V plug. Make a hole for the plug in the base mold. Stick them with hot melt glue, which will be easy to remove later.

Step 6: Prepare the resin

Picture of Prepare the resin
After take all the security measures, it's time to mix the resin with the catalyst. Polyester resin is often sold with the catalyst, so don't get mad about it.

Catalyst quantity may vary depending on the temperature of the environment, but is always between 5 and 2% of the volume of the resin.
After mix them in a recipient, stir it with a stick drawing an eight. That will erase most of the bubbles that can appear.

Resin dries relatively quick(around 5 - 10 min.), so you'd better control your time.

Don't make a big amount of resin for this project in a time, because it will be poured by layers.

Step 7: Pouring the Resin

Picture of Pouring the Resin

Right after mix the resin with the catalyst, pour it into the mold. Put the first aperture piece with care then.
To create the "exploded" effect, I put the resin by layers, each layer for one part of the aperture.

Wait around 30 minutes so as to let the resin dry well and prepare more resin mix for the next layer.

After make all the layers, let it dry 12 hour's.

Step 8: Extract the Resin Piece

Picture of Extract the Resin Piece
After the resin dries completely, take it out of the mold. If you won't use the mold again, simply break it.

Step 9: Sand the piece

So as to smooth out the bigger irregularities, use a sander with a wood sandpaper.

Afterwards, sand the piece first with the 120 sandpaper, then with the 360, and finish with the 1000.

I sanded the base only with the 120 and 360 sandpaper, giving it a semi-transparent look.

This is the hardest step so far. I spend at least 4 hour's sanding, just because my mold was very irregular, so take care about that.

Step 10: Polish the Piece

Picture of Polish the Piece
Blend the polish paste with a bit of water and moisten a cloth with it. Make circular movements with the wet cloth in the faces of the piece. After that, dry it with other cloth.

Step 11: Finished!

So this is the result of the hard work! I hope you enjoy this instructable.

Please, post your questions or examples of this technique bellow.
1-40 of 45Next »
eyrops3 years ago
I like to undercatalyze polyester resin to reduce the exotherm, and reduce the risk of cracking. That increases the setting time, of course. I also often use styrene monomer as a "float layer" to wet the object so bubbles don't stick to it. I then pour the catalyzed resin into the liquid monomer layer. Looks like your project turned out very well without those precautions, but they might help someone doing a thicker project or one with a surface more likely to trap air.
plugable (author)  eyrops3 years ago
So much thanks for your comment, It's my first time working with resin, so I didn't known anything about that. Would polyvinyl alcohol work to avoid bubbles on the object too?
eyrops plugable3 years ago
I don't know for sure. I'm not very familiar with polyvinyl alcohol I thought it was used as a mold release, so my guess is that if you painted it on and let it dry, it might separate the object from the resin. That would probably not be what you want. The thing about styrene monomer is that it wets the surface and is compatible with the resin as the resin cures. So, for example, if you have a complicated porous object such as a dry piece of bark, you can anchor it with a thin resin layer. Then you can pour a layer of styrene monomer over it. It will wet the bark. Then you can pour the next layer of resin right into the monomer, and continue. Styrene monomer is available from Industrial Arts Supply Company in Minnesota.. I haven't looked into other sources.
If you don't want to invest in polish paste or a special cloth for this purpose, I have had good success with toothpaste and a sock.
plugable (author)  destroyer20123 years ago
I read somewhere that metal polish works as well, and is cheap too.
lime3D plugable3 years ago
A buffing wheel on on bench grinder works great.
guaps3 years ago
Do you think this would work for insects too? I found a huge cockroach in my room while visiting a friend in Venezuela. I want to put it in some resin like this.
plugable (author)  guaps3 years ago
Yes, it works very well because I watched some examples on the net. The only precaution you may do is the exotherm effect, which make the resin rises over 60 ºC. However, it shouldn't affect the result in this case.
lime3D plugable3 years ago
Insects work well, but you need to make sure they are dried out first. Trapped moisture will want to expand when the resin heats up.
tinker2343 years ago
wow amazing i wonder if i could do something like this with a old camera i have on my shelf
tutdude983 years ago
is good to put a small speaker inside and drill holes so i can hear it??
plugable (author)  tutdude983 years ago
Well, the speaker must vibrate so as to produce sound. If you cover it completely doing just some holes in the resin, it wont work. Other option is to let just the back of the speaker make contact with the resin and protect the front with a plastic cilinder (that you can remove after the dry), making it free to move. Then you can make a resin top with holes if you want. ;)

However, if resin can reach the diaphragm from the back (e.g.: a computer speaker) you should think in other idea.
Bubbler3 years ago
I have a snake skull that I always wanted to put into a cube or or ball shape. The bones of the jaws and teeth are extremely fine, so is this the stuff I would use for that please? Do I need to make it less viscious?
Oh, man, is that a great idea, or what!!!

I have several small animal skulls that I collected in the deep woods, and I always thought a nice display would be cool, but I coudln't figure out how!

Thanks, Plugable, thanks, Bubbler, you ROCK!
plugable (author)  Bubbler3 years ago
Resin doesn't expand, so you haven to worry about bones and teeth break. Besides, resin is very viscious, just a bit less than water,
Thanks Plugable, your information is just what I required.
mathieulj3 years ago
To avoid bubbles, you could experiment with different solvents mixed in with the resin. I don't know the specific solvent/resin that was used but someone I know was casting optics and solved her bubble problem by doing so. It would increase cure time but it's higher liquidity would allow the bubbles to rise to the surface.
Styrene momomer is a thinner used about 2-5% to thin resin.
Noitoen3 years ago
After the first sanding, if you give a few thin coats of transparent acrylic varnish it will become crystal clear.
trojan523 years ago
The silvery thingies you are talking about are probably caused by a thin layer of air trapped beetween the resin and the lens.

You might want to take a look at the url at the bottom of my comment, it's a wikipedia entry about the phenomenom (total internal reflection).

plugable (author)  trojan523 years ago
Thanks for the info.
nerd123 years ago
do you know any where i can buy the resin in India?
pls reply
the site was also in Spanish or something which i did not understand.
plugable (author)  nerd123 years ago
Sorry but I don't known. English version (without descripition and some spanish titles): http://adhesivostnk.es/tienda/en/bisuteria-orgonites-transparentes/155-kit-resina-de-poliester-transparente-1-kgr-endurecedor.html
Would it make a better cast if I were to use one of those clear plastic boxes from walmart? They have perfect angles and all that and wont leak. Even come with a lid to make the bottom section seperate. I am OCD when it comes to perfect angles and stuff so this would be a must. The only issue i can think of would be sticking but i think you can use Pam cooking spray or the like.

plugable (author)  omgitschrislol3 years ago
Since you use a clear plastic box, you won't have sticking problems, but you have to find a way to take it out without break the box. I made a test sample in a plastic recipient, and it took out with just some soft hits.
That is a really niffty idea.
And I think your sister would be thrilled to receive such a great piece that you obviously worked hard to prepare for her !
Great job !!
plugable (author)  murraykaynottawa3 years ago
drdasd3 years ago
Very cool project that can be applied to most anything that has parts! Also great for using stuff that would otherwise be thrown away. Thanks for sharing!

Would the resin found here work for this? http://www.tapplastics.com/shop/product.php?pid=37&

There is a local store so it would me much more convenient for me!
plugable (author)  drdasd3 years ago
That resin is for fiberglass, not transparent. It is used to stick layers of fiberglass in order to create a determinate object,

You have to look for transparent resin or clear resin :

ihart3 years ago
Great idea to display a lens like that. I would just use epoxy resin. There is no 4 hour sanding effort. It dries perfectly clear.

You spray mold release into your mold. Next, mix the resin and hardener exactly in a 50/50 ratio for each layer you are making.

Here is an example of the epoxy resin/hardener:

Here is an example of mold release:

trojan52 ihart3 years ago
Sure you could use epoxy resin, but your project would probably be 10 fold more expensive.
Great idea! Thanks
chuckyd3 years ago
The surface still looks fuzzy. You could get a smoother finish if you sanded up to 12,000 grit paper, and then polish with 3-step auto polish.

The grits above 1,000 were developed for cleaning airplane windows.
Could you use a vacume eleminate air bubles? If i were to put that in a sealed case while the Acrylic was hardening and i applied a vacumme would it pull the bubbles out? I absoluty love stuff like this. Im going to be going to college to be an electrical engineer.

Sorry for spelling and gramatical errors I reciently cut the crap out of my thumb on a cd drive case and am typing without it and its actually harder than i thougt.
Wasagi3 years ago
This is beautiful!! Great job!
plugable (author)  Wasagi3 years ago
Thank you so much!
lemonie3 years ago

The shiny bits will be air layers, yes.
Maybe wetting the parts with un-activated resin first would fix that?

I remember learning about how to make crystal clear ice, the trick was to apply some air pressure , would that help in this case?

Negative air pressure, but that's degassing, the air in this block wasn't in the liquid. And resin is more viscous than water.

On the site you posted to buy the resin ,waz it 1 kilogram for 10$ ,i wanna make a clear counter top, and can't find any store's in Montreal that have it a a resonable price,and if it is can the ship to Canada???
1-40 of 45Next »